SRFI says media report on favourable Doha draw "malicious"

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Chennai, Feb 15 (UNI) Already smarting under the controversy over the non-inclusion of India Number two Deepika Pallikal for the ongoing Asian Championships, the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) today strongly denied media reports that the India's bronze medal winning performance at the recent Doha Asian Games was 'fixed'.

ASF Secretary General Srivatsan Subramaniam, in a statement here today said that the contents of the article published in a leading English daily in New Delhi, in this regard ''were malicious and misleading''.

Asserting that the draw for the Doha Asian Games was picked by an IAS officer in the presence of ASF officials, he said the draw was held in a transparent manner.

''The whole procedure has been documented and photographed'', he said and added that the ASF was taking legal steps against the article which was ''blatantly defamatory'', he said.

The article under the headline ''India's bronze at Asiad Fixed?'', claims that India's bronze winning effort at Doha was pre-ordained or preplanned.

It said only two entries were allowed per country for the Asian Games and and how both the seeded Indians -- Ritwik Bhattacharya and Saurav Ghosal -- were clubbed in the lower half of the quarter final draw. Similarly it also questioned how two seeded Pakistani players were pitted in the top half of the draw.

The report further claimed that one of them would go to the semi finals, ensuring a medal for the country and also quoted Brig Raj Manchanda's (Central government observer for sqaush) comments in his report to the Ministry.

The present controversy comes at a time when the SRFI was involved in a legal battle with Deepika Pallikal, whose father had moved the Delhi High Court, challenging her ommision from the team for Asian championship at Kuwait.

The SRFI contended that she was not selected as she had not reported for the trials citing a back problem. But she went to Egypt for training.


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